life choices, retired living

Today I Decided to Retire

Have you ever quit something and had second thoughts?

I guess some might think I had it all. Some may think I could have done more with my business. I was always content and very happy to be my own boss. I set my own hours and worked as hard as I wanted too. No one set the rules but me and I think I did alright for the 35 plus years I was in the business.

I have no debt, no loss, no warehouse to sell or land. I have no storerooms filled with inventory I need to liquidate. I don’t have to let any employees go. I am leaving no one homeless. I don’t have to sell my home or move to another location because of my decision.

I don’t have to pack a bag or a box. I don’t have to take down a shingle or cancel any advertising. I am not going to have a retirement party and if I did, I don’t know who I would invite. There is no one I will miss, no Christmas card list I need to continue. I won’t have to make any special announcement.

My retirement will be known only to me and those closest to me, my husband, my adult kids if the subject ever comes up. I will not be missed as the market I worked is saturated with competitors. I did not do anything too obscure or unique. It is easy to find another just as good to replace me if you need.

When desire for the work begins to wane, it is hard to keep the wheels turning.

woman thinking with cup of tea photo reminded me of me as I made a decision to retire today

You start to dread another order coming in you will have to fulfill. You used to work hard at marketing just to get a sale. Your thoughts are in other places now. How can I turn this person down or give them a referral. I need to take a break.

You can come up with so many excuses to not work so hard. You give yourself permission to weed your garden today, take a walk with a friend you haven’t connected with in awhile. Your spare bedroom needs your attention. You have a crochet piece you want to be working on. When are you going to get to the doll clothes you wanted to make?

You push through each work day now and every stage of work is now a greater effort than it used to be. You set timeline goals to see the project through, piece by piece. Paperwork will have to wait. You have to get this job out by such and such a deadline. Why did I agree to make this?

Everyone’s needs are tugging at your heartstrings.

Your husband and family want you to be doing other things. A daughter wishes you could watch her children more than you already do. She is fully operating her own business very successfully after all. He business and life seems more important. Your retired husband wants more time with you.

You love to help others. All the jobs you have had in life were centered around others. It was the most favorite thing you liked about your current position of owner of your own storefront, working with customers. If there is someone who needs help, you can pick them out in a crowded room and get them just what they need. You are good at it. It makes you feel like you have contributed somehow and may be recognized for it.

Where are all your trophies? They are all in your own head and have been created and collected by you. What do you have to show for all your mini accomplishments. They are meaningless and invisible to others so what is the point to all of this service you have given.

Why are you still working? You don’t need a paycheck. Even though all your money went back into the business and you never got paid. Your husband supports you, your kids need nothing from you, babies all grown and you are frugal for goodness sake. You hate to shop, have already been to Europe so road trips are enough to satisfy you. Although you have built up a savings to travel, you are content to enjoy your flower gardens.

Deciding to get unstuck and move forward.

Why am I not filled with joy. There are some things missing in my life but I can get passed those heartaches. Some things are what they are and we have no control over them. We have to accept what is. Still, some things we can change.

I think my unhappiness comes more from doing those things I don’t want to do anymore.
Things that I was counting on to bring me to some level of satisfaction that was never met.
Those things that I no longer look forward to delving into anymore. I just can’t strike the mood anymore. I don’t even feel like making a turn to make it anything bigger or better.
Even if money was given to me to employ one person for a year, I want to leave this line of work and would not take it. I have not one drop of desire left in me so I made an announcement to my own self, this was it. I am finished with this job.

When did the business I love become a job to me?

There is a difference to having a job and running a business. It is more about how you think about what you do. I didn’t mind all the work involved to run a business, even a small home-based business of my own. I have seen hundreds of customers and created high quality goods for so many. Yet, when I started to think of what I do as a job, I stopped having fun.

What I was doing seemed to not be getting me anywhere fast. At least not as fast as I wanted. And within the last three years it was getting increasingly slow. It became a trickle in the market as there were more and more competitors. The venues where I sold were becoming more demanding and costly and the ROI was less than previous years. COVID-19 didn’t do any of us any good either in 2020.

The cons were winning.

Every little decision we make has outcomes. The outcomes can be good, to the benefit of our own selves and the lives around us. Outcomes can effect the environment, our home, our schedule, our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

If an outcome is good, then it is “pro” towards any goal we have. It is positively leaning towards the direction we want to go. If the outcome is bad, then it is “con” or contrary to,
or leaning to the opposite direction we want to go. We want to have more pros than cons, obviously.

It helps to make a list, when you really seem to be stuck in the middle of making a decision, of things you like and don’t like about one thing or another. What is is that makes it a pro or con. I listen to my gut feelings about a thing. If I need to make a certain dollar amount than certain things I decide will make an impact and other things won’t.

I make lists in my head but there is something very good about writing things down. My cons have grown over the years so it was easy for me to finally accept the inevitable. I am getting older and I had to give myself permission to do something else with my time. Everyone else in the family seems quite happy by comparison, so why can’t I be?

Running on empty.

I have decided the drive and energy is no longer there as a much needed motivating factor.
I have been stuck in neutral for too long. If you aren’t moving along where are you going? You are just an observer. It is more fun to be a player on the field. That is where the action is and all the risk. When the game is over and you win or loose, no one feels the emotions like the players.

I have been going through the motions, hoping for a turn in direction in the business climate. Maybe finally things would pick up again, maybe there would be some new exciting niche that I would discover and love.

Thoughts to grow my business never came to me, but the same old thoughts of my garden flowers and doll clothes. It is Springtime now in Minnesota and plants are bursting with color and light. Birds are calling me to my gardens. I want to sew what I want to sew for who or what I want to sew for.

Thoughts of things grandmothers want to do if they allow themselves to retire. I have the world full of ideas and places I can enjoy and go. Friends I can call and grandchildren I can visit. I don’t need to sit behind this computer or my sewing room for many or any hours if I don’t want to.

I am very blessed to be born in this place and time, with people around me that do love me. I have been leaning for a very long time in another direction. This work tree has fallen. I took the final ax to it when I said out loud, what my gut was feeling for a long time, finally…. “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Words do have power in our lives. I need to speak out loud many more things:

  • I will get back to exercise with my handbells
  • My spare room will get organized
  • I will try a new recipe each week.
  • I will take a walk every day.
  • I will work on that piano piece I like until it is perfect.
  • I will sort through my paperwork to have a clean desk top.
  • My son’s afghan will be completed this Fall.
  • I will spend time weeding my flowerbed in my backyard garden.
  • I will quit my job!

Today can be different. It is a decision we make.

I am looking forward to a new day. Isn’t it nice the sun goes down and we know that when we wake up, we get to decide, when we get out of bed, what our attitude is going to be. There is nothing else we may be able to change.

We may not have finances enough, physical health enough, wisdom and understanding enough or people who love us enough to do anything about. We do have a mind that controls our attitude.

We get to decide if our day will be better or worse than the day before. We get to decide if we want to compare ourselves with others or be content with who we are. We get to decide if we want to make an investment into our own lives or waste it on some addiction or emotion we are holding inside that is causing us pain or remorse.

We get to decide if we will help a neighbor or be a hindrance to them. It is really exciting when you think about it, how much we can change our world just by the thoughts we embrace.

This is why I love the mornings best of all. I lay in bed and have not made one misstep, said one harsh word, did one bad deed. I thank the God who made me, that he has given me another day with my husband, my home and my family. I thank God for loving me. It is all any of us need.

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